05 April 2011

Vietnamese rescue team finally retrieves sacred Rafetus swinhoei turtle

Rescuers in Vietnam have finally succeeded in retrieving their sacred giant turtle from Hoan Kiem Lake for medical treatment.

Though the sex of the turtle is unknown, people have dubbed it as “The Great Grandfather.” For months, Vietnamese veterinarians from Hanoi had made many attempts to capture and treat The Great Grandfather for injuries he sustained possibly due to pollution in the water, but he put up a strong fight.

Tim McCormack from the Asian Turtle Programme, a local conservation group in Vietnam, states, “This is one of the most endangered animals in the world and there's very little known about it.”

Endangered is sadly correct, The Great Grandfather is one of only four of his species—Rafetus swinhoei—still alive.

Recently, hundreds of people gathered ‘round as the veterinarians tried, once again, to reel in the stubborn turtle. This time, they had over 50 people in the rescue team to help. The job took two hours, but they had finally brought the turtle onto land.

All of the bystanders cheered as their century old turtle legend was saved, and he is now currently being treated for his injuries.

Julia is a student who has a passion for veganism, animal welfare, and religious studies.

Photo credit:flickr.com/photos/52621576@N00